Al-Bassam’s Richard III: An Arab Tragedy will be at BAM in New York next week. Check out this brief piece by Alexis Sokolsky in their summer theatre preview. (I’m quoted!)
As far as I know, this is the first staging in the Arab world of one of Sulayman Al-Bassam’s Arabic-language Shakespeare adaptations.”Unfortunately it was staged for only three nights at the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiya, while it played for months in different countries,” Al-Bassam noted during a seminar on the play held at Kuwait University’s Faculty of Arts. The Kuwait Times has a little article about it.
This article addresses the writing and performance work of Anglo-Kuwaiti director Sulayman Al-Bassam, tracing the development of his various adaptations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet into English and Arabic ‘cross-cultural’ versions between 2001 and 2007. Al-Bassam’s work presents English as a ‘language in translation’. His works move from early modern to modern English, from Arabized English to Arabic, from one linguistic and geographical location to another, their forms moulded and remoulded by complex cultural pressures. The study focuses on specific examples from three adaptations to show in practice how in these works English is ‘constantly crossed, challenged and contested’.